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Youth of the island put forward their own electoral programme

consell infancia 200515 2Today at midday, under the banner of a UNICEF initiative entitled “Vota por mi” ('Vote for me') and pushed across municipalities that have received the global organisation's Child Friendly City distinction, a special plenary session was held by Formentera's youth participatory council (El Consell de la Infància i la Joventut).

The measure is intended as a way to “get children and adolescents participating in shaping their community. They can't vote, but that mustn't mean they can't still play an active role”, explained Dolores Fernández.

The electoral programme was broken down and read by twenty-some representatives from the island's different primary schools and the Marc Ferrer secondary school. Before starting, the children were met and greeted by Council president Jaume Ferrer, who thanked the young participants for their participation.

Their programme is divided into different component issues, in the style of the electoral programmes being championed by political parties formed by adults.

Included on the Consell's list of demands are calls for “a youth café, a cultural space where Formentera's young people can organise theatre shows, concerts and exhibitions”,  increased police presence in areas susceptible to drug trafficking, raising the motorcycle driving age to reduce accidents and a clear and categorical 'no' with respect to petroleum explorations.

Evening of kid-friendly cinema at Sant Ferran library

asterix-and-the-vikings-8The Formentera Council, through the Sant Ferran library, will put on a projection of the children's film Asterix and the Vikings on Thursday 19 March at 5pm.

Each month, the libraries of Formentera pick a movie from their catalogue to showcase in a special showing. Afterward, interested parents can borrow the selection for home viewing.

The story is adapted from an issue of the famous Asterix comics, illustrated by Albert Uderzo and written by René Goscinny.

37-point plan to foment youth participation, ensure well-being

pla estrategic joventutEarlier today, the office of social welfare, early-childhood and youth services, an arm of the Formentera Council, publicly laid out what is being called the Strategic Plan for Formentera Youth. El Pla estratègic d'infància i joventut de Formentera, as it is titled in Catalan, was jointly-drafted by various council offices and received ratification by councilmembers in the ordinary plenary session of February.

Present for the occasion were Dolores Fernández, councillor of social welfare, infant and youth services, Pere Serra, head of the local social welfare office and Mònica Rey, head of youth services. The document outlines 37 specific action points to be developed over the course of the next four years (2015-2018). According to Councillor Fernández, “more than 50% are already en route while the remainder are easily within reach”.

Fernández highlighted the three chief features of the plan: “Compile the different tasks necessary to a successful promotion of Formentera's infant and adolescent population, promote the active participation of local youth and uphold the rights of the child”.

Before detailing the tasks themselves, head of youth services Mònica Rey gave a bit of background on the document: “[It] offers a description of the social and demographic realities of Formentera today, breaking down the data into interesting, often-unseen perspectives. The island's population aged 0-18 is set at 1,839; 982 males and 857 females”. In the same section, El pla estratègic also includes information about the current legislation concerning young children and youth.

Pere Serra was on hand to present the 37 actions included in the pages of the strategic plan. The head of social welfare explained that “the actions listed in Strategic Plan are divided up into four categories: improvements to the family environment; participation of young children and youth in local issues; equal opportunities; and public health and prevention work”.

The first category consists of five actions. One of them calls for the creation of a meeting point for parents in conflictive relationships where issues regarding the children of the family can be discussed. Other actions propose offering courses dealing with such topics as parenting skills and techniques in family problem solving. Still another action proposes improving the coordination that exists between public health agencies and other local administrations.

A total of 21 actions propose augmenting the active participation of youth in local affairs. Among these, one aims to promote volunteer work. Other actions focus on increasing participation in day camps, competitions, sports camps and at the Casal de Joves. This last entity, the local youth centre, has long played an extremely-important role in fomenting activities for young people.

Six actions consider equal opportunities on the island. One suggests a convention among Formentera's sports clubs to assist families with financial difficulties. A second recommends extra support for the participative wing of the local youth council (El Consell de la infància i la joventut).

Last on the list are the actions that contemplate improvements to public health and prevention work. One proposes support for Formentera Marxa, a programme that organises guided weekend activities.
Other actions recommend programmes to assure that every young person enrolled in basic mandatory education possess a set of acquired abilities by age sixteen. These actions aim to prevent addictive behaviour in technology, instil healthy emotional and sexual practises and give youth the power to make intelligent decisions about drugs.

Free chess workshop for children of Sant Ferran

nens escacsNext Thursday afternoon, 22 January, at 5pm, the Sant Ferran library will host for the first time a chess workshop for the children of Formentera.

This free activity will take place one Thursday a month and is organised by the Formentera Council and the Quatre Torres ('four towers') chess club.

The goal behind the workshops is to initiate children into the practise of a board game lauded for myriad benefits. Among the different claims, chess enthusiasts list its utility strengthening decision-making skills, imagination, concentration, capacity for silence and tranquility and the ability to anticipate the consequences of one's actions as some of the sport's principal advantages.

Second annual plenary session of youth council

Consell inf6Composed of girls and boys from the island's primary and secondary schools, a plenary meeting of Formentera's youth council took place this morning in the plenary hall of the Formentera Council.

El Consell de la infància i la joventut is a participatory entity that casts young people as the actors in the decision making that affects them. Members introduce their own initiatives and voice their particular perspectives regarding the island. This morning's plenary was the second this year.

The day's session included discussion of what is being called el camí escolar de La Mola, or 'the school-children's trail of La Mola'. The idea – a safe route to school for children traveling alone – is to build autonomy without losing out on security.

Those council members who participated in the two countrywide assemblies held in November – one in Guadalajara and the other in the Balearics – related their experiences and gave accounts of the council's actions at this morning's plenary.

Initiatives such as this one were behind UNICEF's decision in October to award Formentera the designation of 'Child-friendly City'. This distinction will be valid through 2018, at which point local policies and practices will once again be reviewed before renewal of the 'Child-friendly City' label.

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